The Arabs have their gulags too

Robert Fisk in The Independent:

56fiskro_369781t How many Independent readers can name a single man imprisoned in the Arab gulags? How many tourists to Egypt know that in the Tora prison complex, prison guards have forced inmates to rape each other? How many men have been “renditioned” to Egypt and Syria and Morocco by the Americans or by our Muslim “allies”? So this week, let’s be specific. Take the cases of Bahaa Mustafa Joughel, Syrian identity card number 01020288992, and Mohamed Aiman Abo Attot, Syrian ID no 01020265346. Haven’t heard of them, have you?

Here, according to their families, are their stories. Bahaa Joughel, born in Damascus in 1976, is married, has two children and used to live in Pakistan with his family, his sister and her daughters. A partial cripple, Joughel worked on computers and ran a small IT company from his home. Again, according to his family, he engaged in no political activities. On Jan 30, 2002, Pakistani security police raided their home in Islamabad, apparently under the orders of a US officer. Joughel disappeared for five months, his family told only that he was being “investigated” by the Americans. But the Joughel family was later shocked to learn that he had been “renditioned” to Syria scarcely three months after his arrest – on May 4, 2002, to be precise – and jailed at the “Palestine” branch of Syrian military intelligence. This institution makes the adjective “notorious” irrelevant. He spent 20 months in underground solitary confinement – tortured in his grave-like concrete cabin, his sight damaged by his confinement, just as Canadian Maher Arar was after the Americans sent him to Syria around the same time – before being transferred to Sednaya prison. He was released on 12 February 2005, but was forbidden to leave Syria and then re-arrested on Christmas Eve the same year. No charges have ever been made against him.

More here.